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Today is December 3, 2021

Outdoors

The seasons begin

By Tony Kinton

The seasons begin

While doves and some limited waterfowl — teal specifically — can be hunted in September, the bulk of hunting in Mississippi begins in October. And this is a grand month for beginnings.

October is marked by fresh, brisk mornings and leaves dressing for autumn. Morning sunrises fi ll azure skies and shadows take on a peculiar slant unlike that of the suffocating summer just past. October is a grand time to be sure.

Two hunting seasons that open in October are for game that occupies certainly the No. 1 slot in popularity — deer — and the probable No. 2 or No. 3 — squirrels. The latter tends to vacillate somewhat, and whether it is second or third in the line-up is inconsequential. It has long been and likely will be anticipated by most hunters of the Magnolia State.

Deer in October may only be hunted with archery gear. While not as commanding of attention as is the later firearms seasons, this pursuit of bowhunting boasts a strong following. Thousands take to the woods with bows and arrows each year in hopes of gaining the proper distance from a whitetail while shooting short-range equipment. And most that put in their time doing so are richly rewarded.

Squirrel hunting may, by some, be viewed as a strange attraction. Squirrels are common in city parks and along city streets and in backyards and on lawns. Wooded roadsides seem filled with them. Common they are, and that familiarity may coax the unschooled of squirrel hunting to disregard them as viable, to consider them as little more than cuddly bundles of activity. Dedicated squirrel hunters know differently. They recognize that squirrels are worthy of pursuit, cunning, and suspicious of intrusion into their wild haunts. In short, squirrels are a challenge. And they provide the makings of a fine supper.

While growing up, I was introduced to squirrel hunting by my dad. There was not even a deer season in proximity to our humble home area. But those glorious autumn mornings, and at times bitter winter days, in the squirrel woods were the things of dreams, part of the journey into reality and adulthood, now memories treasured and often relived minus many regular companions from those early days.

I, back then, became a squirrel hunter and remain such. I go every year. These days I seldom actually collect a squirrel, maybe a half dozen in singles or pairs scattered out over the season. Fried squirrel and biscuits coax me to do so. But mostly, I simply go. And sit and think and look and listen and marvel and recall who and what I really am. There is great profit in my squirrel hunting. Much too good to miss, this endeavor.

 

Tony Kinton has been an active outdoors writer for 30 years. He lives in Carthage and is a Central Electric member. Visit www.tonykinton.com for more information.

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